Researchers are like detectives. Both are trying to find something out. Both are asking and answering questions. Both are trying to put together a puzzle to come up with a solution. In both, answering questions leads to more questions. And, in both, seeing patterns is crucial to solving the puzzle.
Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods presents the foundations of research methods, the choices scholars make, and the methodological decisions driving communication scholarship to balance one’s desire to know and inquire into interesting communication questions while instilling an enthusiasm about the process!
Featuring a student friendly writing style, Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods is built on adult learning theory – information is given in small chunks that build upon each other, repeating then expanding knowledge.
Featuring updated information and examples, the new third edition of Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods:
- Is Modern! The text includes material on conducting research on, and involving, social and digital media.
- Is Practical! Examples of how students might use communication research methods in business and industry jobs after graduation are integrated throughout.
- Is Groundbreaking! The text features four chapters that summarize new qualitative research methods along with comprehensive instructions on how to conduct these research methods.
- Is Interactive! A seamlessly integrated enhanced learning package provides both students and instructors access to online content, interactive exercises and more.
About the Authors
PART 1: INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION RESEARCH
Chapter 1: What Is Communication Research?
What Will You Do with the Information You Learn in this Course?
What Is Research?
Communication as Social Research
Communication as Humanities Research
Communication as Critical or Cultural Research
How Is Research Knowledge Distributed?
Social Dialogue and Public Policy
Communication in the Popular Press
How Do We Know What We Know?
Where Does Knowledge Come From?
Traditions, Customs, and Faith
Magic, Superstition, and/or Mysticism
Intuition or Hunches
A Priori Reasoning
What’s Wrong with Everyday Ways of Knowing?
What Do Communication Researchers Do?
What Specific Areas Do Communication Researchers Study?
Nothing as Practical as a Good Theory
What Are Some Examples of Communication Research?
Where Do Communication Researchers Study?
In Businesses and Organizations
In Health Care
In Interpersonal Interactions
Chapter 2: Metatheoretical Considerations, Research Perspectives, and Research Paradigms
What Are the Goals and Methods of Communication Scholars and Everyday Observers?
Research Perspectives and Paradigms
Types of Research
Characteristics of Scholarly Research
Two Logical Systems
Model of Deduction/Induction
Qualitative and Quantitative Research
Chapter 3: Discovering What’s Already Known: Library Research
What Are the Purposes of Library Research?
Types of Research
Phases of Research
Using Library Research to Come Up with Your Research Question
How Do You Access Scholarly Journals?
Finding Research Sources Using Search Strategies
Evaluating Research Sources
How to Read a Journal Article
Taking Notes on Research
Chapter 4: Writing a Literature Review
What’s the Purpose of a Literature Review?
What Is a Literature Review?
Annotated Bibliography versus Synthesis of the Literature
Organizing the Literature Review
American Psychological Association (APA) Style (6th edition, 2nd printing)
Body of the Paper
Modern Language Association (MLA) Style (8th edition)
Chicago Style (16th edition)
Common Grammatical Errors
PART 2: PREPARING TO CONDUCT RESEARCH
Chapter 5: Research Questions, Objectives, and Hypotheses
How Do You Design Good Quality Research through Appropriate Questions and Hypotheses?
What Are the Functions of Theory, Research Objectives, Research Questions, and Hypotheses?
What Are Research Objectives?
How Do You Ask Research Questions?
Types of Research Questions about Communication
Questions of Definition
Questions of Fact
What Are Research Hypotheses?
Forms of Relationships in Hypotheses
Directional and Nondirectional Hypotheses
How Do You Set Up Good Research Questions?
What Are the Boundaries of Research Questions and Hypotheses?
How Is Metatheory Related to Research Questions and Hypotheses?
Chapter 6: Understanding Research Ethics
Why Do We Care about Human Subjects Protection?
How Do We Follow Research Ethics and Ethical Guidelines?
Respect for Persons and Informed Consent
Nonmaleficence and Beneficence
Including Participants in Co-Constructed Research
Ethics in Reporting Findings
Who Oversees Research Ethics? Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)
How Do We Maintain Ethics through all Research Phases?
Chapter 7: Understanding Variables
What Is the Function of Variables in Communication Research?
What Is a Variable?
Revisiting Conceptual and Operational Definitions
Measured Operational Definitions
Experimental Operational Definitions
Operationalizing: Matching Your Variables to Your Study
Social Desirability Bias in Self-Report data
Limitations in Other Reports
Hawthorne Effect Bias in Observing Behaviors
Nominal Level Measurement
Ordinal Level Measurement
Interval Level Measurement
Semantic Differential Scale
Ratio Level Measurement
Types of Variables
Examples of Independent and Dependent Variables
The Different Types of Relationships between Variables
Reversible and Irreversible Relationships
Deterministic and Stochastic Relationships
Sequential and Coextensive Relationships
Sufficient and Contingent Relationships
Necessary and Substitutable Relationships
The Dimensions of Variables
Chapter 8: Understanding Sampling
How Important Is Sampling?
Generalizability and Representation
Unit of Analysis or Sampling Units
Sampling in Quantitative Research
Simple Random Sample
Systematic Random Sample
Proportional Stratified Sample
Advantages and Disadvantages
Response Rate and Refusal Rate
Sample Size and Power
Sampling in Qualitative Research
Maximum Variation Sampling
Theoretical Construct Sampling
Typical and Extreme Instance Sampling
Sample Size and Data Saturation
Chapter 9: Ensuring Validity, Reliability, and Credibility
Thinking about the Quality of Your Observations
What Is Reliable? What Is Valid? What Is Credible?
Physical and Social Measurement
Types of Reliability
Knowing What You Are Measuring
Validity and Reliability Examples
Problems with Participants and Procedures
External Validity Threats
Ecological Validity Threats
Credible Data Gathering, Coding, and Writing
PART 3: RESEARCH UNDER THE QUANTITATIVE PARADIGM
Chapter 10: Survey Research
Applications of Survey Research
Survey Research Measuring Attitudes
Survey Research Measuring Retrospective Behaviors
Constructing a Survey Questionnaire
Writing Survey Questions
Strategies for Questions
Types of Questions
Structure and Arrangement of Questions
How to Choose the Right Format
Relative Pros/Cons of Different Survey Methods
Chapter 11: Quantitative Analysis of Text and Words: Content and Interaction Analysis
Exploring Quantitative Content Analysis
Why Analyze Content?
Content Analysis Versus Interaction Analysis
Content Analysis Logic
An Example of the Content Analysis Process
Chapter 12: Experiments
What Is an Experiment?
Independent and Dependent Variables
What Are Independent Variables?
What Are Dependent Variables?
Good Questions for Experiments
Understanding Experimental Notation and Language
Designs and Validity
One Shot Case Study Design
One Group Pretest Posttest Design
Static Group Comparison Design
Nonequivalent Control Group Design
Multiple Time-Series Design
True Experimental Designs
Pretest Posttest Control Group Design
Posttest-Only Control Group Design
Solomon Four-Group Design
Field and Natural Experiments
Chapter 13: Writing, Analyzing, and Critiquing Quantitative Research
Now That I Have My Quantitative Data, What Do I Do with It? Statistical Analysis of Quantitative Data
Know Your Variables, Research Questions, and Hypotheses
Describing or Summarizing Your Variables
Measures of Central Tendency
Frequencies and Visual Representation of Data
Measures of Dispersion
Comparing Groups to See if They Are the Same or Different
Interval or Ratio (Scale) Data
Testing for Relationships (Association) between Two or More Variables
Specific Uses of Statistical Analysis
Chi Square Example
Analysis of Variance Example
Writing Quantitative Findings
General Information about Quantitative Writing
Elements of the Paper
Introduction and Literature Review
RQs or H
Evaluating and Critiquing Quantitative Research
PART 4: RESEARCH UNDER THE QUALITATIVE PARADIGM
Chapter 14: Introduction to Qualitative communication Research
Qualitative Approaches to Research
Qualitative Communication Research Paradigms
Social Science Paradigm
Social Constructionist Paradigm
Arts and Humanities Paradigm
General Characteristics of Qualitative Research
Research Questions or Study Objectives in Qualitative Research
The Role of Theory in Qualitative Research
Sampling in Qualitative Research
Data Collection in Qualitative Research
Types of observers
Types of observations
What observers observe
Types of Interviews
Types of Questions
Listening in an Interview
Probing and Clarifying
Challenges to Interviewing
Challenges to Transcription
Texts and Artifacts
Ethics in Qualitative Research
Human Subjects Protection
Caring for Participants
Participants as Co-Researchers
Analyzing and Writing Qualitative Research
Reading the Data and Making Analytical Notations
Developing a Code List
Coding your Data
Card Pile Sort Approach to Coding
Methods of Categorizing
Analysis by Sensitizing Concepts
Social Network Analysis
Interpretive Thematic Analysis
Analyzing Qualitative Data
Writing Qualitative Findings
Summary or Traditional Method of Writing
Dramatic or Scenic Method of Writing
Writing Performance Texts
Evaluating and Critiquing Qualitative Research
Data Collection Criteria
Chapter 15: Social Science Qualitative Approaches to Communication Research
Social Science Paradigm
Chicago School of Ethnography
Ethnography of Communication
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Ethnography
The Role of Theory in Ethnographic Research
Sampling in Ethnography
Selecting and accessing a field site
Ethical Concerns Specific to Ethnographic Research
Data Collection in Ethnography
Analysis in Ethnography
Writing Ethnographic Findings
Examples of Ethnography
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Focus Groups
The Role of Theory in Focus Group Research
Sampling in Focus Group Research
Data Collection in Focus Groups
Focus group moderating or facilitating
Ethical Concerns Specific to Focus Group Research
Analyzing Focus Groups
Writing/Presenting the Findings of Focus Group Research
Scholarly Examples of Focus Group Research
Industry Examples of Focus Group Research
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Grounded Theory Research
The Role of Theory in Grounded Theory Research
Sampling in Grounded Theory Research
Data Collection in Grounded Theory Research
Coding and Analysis in Grounded Theory Research
Writing Grounded Theory Findings
Examples of Grounded Theory Research
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Phenomenology
Sampling in Phenomenology
Data Collection in Phenomenology
Analysis in Phenomenology
Writing the Findings in Phenomenology
Examples of Phenomenology
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Case Studies
Sampling in Case Study Research
Data Collection in Case Study Research
Analysis and Reporting Case Study Research
Examples of Case Study Research
Research Questions Addressed by Discourse Analysis
Data Collection in Discourse Analysis
Coding in Discourse Analysis
Writing Discourse Analysis Findings
Examples of Discourse Analysis
Conversation Analysis (CA)
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Conversation Analysis
Sampling in Conversation Analysis
Data Collection in Conversation Analysis
Transcription in Conversation Analysis (CA)
Coding in Conversation Analysis (CA)
Writing CA Findings
Examples of Conversation Analysis
Qualitative Content Analysis
Sampling in Qualitative Content Analysis
Coding in Qualitative Content Analysis
Chapter 16: Social Constructionist and Arts-Based Qualitative Approaches to Communication Research
Social Constructionist Paradigm
Characteristics of Research Under the Social Constructionist Paradigm
Autoethnography and Personal Narratives
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Autoethnography
The Role of Theory in Autoethnographic Research
Ethical Concerns Specific to Autoethnography
Sampling and Data Collection in Autoethnography
Analysis in Autoethnography
Examples of Autoethnography
Critical and Feminist Ethnography
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Critical Ethnography
How Critical Ethnography Uses/Incorporates Theory
Ethical Concerns Specific to Critical Ethnography
Data Collection in Critical Ethnography
Analysis and Writing in Critical Ethnography
Communication Activism and CBPR
Examples of Critical and Feminist Ethnography
Digital and Online Ethnography
Appropriate Research Questions for Digital Ethnography
Ethical Considerations for Digital Ethnography
Data Collection in Digital Ethnography
Analysis and Reporting in Digital Ethnography
Examples of Digital Ethnography
Characteristics of Research Under the Arts-Based Paradigm
Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre
Research Questions Appropriate for Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre
Ethical Issues in Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre
Data Collection in Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre
Analysis in Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre
Writing Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre
Examples of Performative Writing
Fiction as Method
Documentary, Video, or Visual Ethnography
Other Types of Arts-Based Research Methods
Chapter 17: Rhetorical Approaches to Communication Research
Characteristics of Rhetorical Criticism
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Rhetorical Criticism
Data in Rhetorical Criticism
Writing Rhetorical Criticism
Narratives and Rhetorical Criticism
Rhetorical Criticism in the Workplace
Appendix A: Writing Research Proposals
Appendix B: Sample Informed Consent Form
Appendix C: How Your Objective, Research Question, and/or Hypothesis Relates to Your Methodology
Appendix D: Statistics Decision Chart
Appendix E: Style Manual Summary (APA, MLA, Chicago)
I LOVE Straight Talk About Communication Research Methods and students do, too! This course MUST engage students, not turn them off! I love your approach. The book delivers on the title's promise by engaging students with a simple conversational style about important complex concepts and issues. My students especially appreciate the copious examples that complement our applied program.I think this will be my third time using your book. Thank you!
Donnalyn Pompper, Associate Professor, Temple University
Straight Talk about Communication Methods is unique in that it is comprehensive in scope, but succinct to allow the undergraduate to read a chapter in one sitting. The authors use illustrations throughout the text that most students can relate to. The text allows the instructor to use the book to supplement lecture, rather than other text books that have been written with the goal of having instructors lecture from the book. The integration of SPSS throughout some of the chapters also removes the apprehension students have with using the program without supervision.
Patric Spence, Univeristy of Kentucky
Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods works wonders with my undergraduate students...especially those especially fearful of anything to do with statistics. It is filled with examples and practical hands-on materials that are a must for anyone hoping to get their students to not only understand research methods but also to actually enjoy it.
Marian L. Houser, Texas State University-San Marcos
Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods is what every research methods instructor and undergraduate communication student needs. It is clearly written, methodologically comprehensive, and contains plenty of examples from published journal articles in the field.
Valerie Young, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Hanover College
I used Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods with my online / independent study course over the summer. I’ve been so impressed - and have heard such great feedback from the students! I’ll be using this publication in all my future methods courses.
Dr. Emily Kofoed - Assistant Professor of Communication
University of South Carolina Upstate